Did you know the average man's life expectancy is six years less than that of a woman? Men are less likely to seek out screenings and preventative health care and are more likely to die of the top 10 leading causes of death. While health screenings and medical check ups are vital, nutrition and diet are also an important part of keeping men healthy. As ShopRite of Timonium's Dietitian, I wanted to share some important foods to start including on a daily basis to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
When it comes to heart health, one must focus on reducing many of the risks factors associated with cardiovascular disease including overweight or obesity, elevated serum triglycerides, elevated LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Smoking cessation, stress reduction, and regular physical activity will help control these risk factors, but the diet also plays a big role. Aim to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids including sardines, anchovies, wild salmon, and albacore tuna. Consume at least 2 servings of fatty fish per week. If you are not a seafood-fan, aim for plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as chia seeds, ground flax seeds, walnuts, or pumpkins seeds. All you need is 1tbsp of seeds or 1/4 cup of nuts per day. To improve heart health, you should also aim to consume whole grains that are rich in soluble fiber and can help lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. Good examples of whole grains include quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, and oatmeal. One half cup of a cooked whole grain is the appropriate serving size.
Cancer prevention is another important health concern for men. One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Tomatoes, particularly the phytonutrient called lycopene can help protect men against prostate cancer. Cooked tomatoes or tomato sauce have an even higher concentration of lycopene. It is also beneficial to consume fruits and vegetables of all the colors of the rainbow to maximize your intake of phytonutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Particularly cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts contain some of the most powerful cancer-fighting components. By boosting your consumption of a wide variety of colorful vegetables and fruits, you can help reduce the risk of many different types of cancer.
Lastly, good nutrition can also help to prevent and manage diabetes. 79 million people in the US have prediabetes, a condition of elevated blood glucose that can lead to diabetes over time. By following healthy lifestyle modifications and consuming a nutritious diet, one can reverse prediabetes. Aim to consume foods that are full of fiber and have a low glycemic index like beans, lentils, and whole grains. Also, green leafy vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and spinach are great superfoods because they are low in calories, high in fiber, and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Aim for at least 1cup of leafy greens each day. Another way to help maintain good blood sugar control is to add cinnamon to your foods. Sprinkle it on your oatmeal, yogurt, or even in your morning cup of coffee.
By incorporating some or all of these foods into your meals and snacks, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. If you want to learn more or if you need further assistance with recipe ideas or meal planning tips, please visit ShopRite of Timonium's Dietitian Center. I am happy to answer your questions or you can schedule a free nutrition counseling appointment. Call 410-560-7071 or email email@example.com.